The main distinction when deciding the perfect stone for your project is whether it will be laid indoors or outdoors – all stones are suitable for interior use, but if you are planning to use stone in an exterior setting, there are certain characteristics that it will require.
The thickness of the cut stone is also very important. Here, you will need to balance the strength of the stone with the amount of height it takes up. And you will need to decide whether you will be laying the stone in a simple symmetric pattern or in a complex, random pattern.
The stone finish that you select is a really important decision, as it has a big impact on the final look of your floor or surface. Remember that stone looks quite different in different lights – be sure to view the stone in the intended setting before making a final choice.
There is a big difference between a ‘honed’ finish and a finish designed to produce a textured, non-slip surface such as etched or seasoned.
Another consideration is how practical the stone will be in the intended application. Some are more suited to particularly demanding rooms such as a busy kitchen for instance. Also, remember some finishes can make your floor more slippery. All stone, by its nature, is hardwearing.
The most important thing to establish is if stone can be used in the intended location. The surface you intend to fix the tiles to is called the substrate. Not all substrates are suitable to receive stone. A wooden floor will require special preparation and most substrates will need some form of general preparation.
The overall design feel that you are seeking will be determined mainly by your personal taste but the style of property will probably also have an influence on your choice. If you want an informal feel and maybe an antique look, then you may wish to consider a random pattern. If you want to achieve a smarter look then you will probably consider a more geometric pattern with all of the stones the same size and in a flat, honed finish.